Based on Taoist conceptions of the relationship between humans, nature and our physical environment, the principles of feng shui have inspired the curation of spaces in Chinese culture for over 3,000 years. Translated literally into English, feng shui refers to “wind and water”, and with these elements being linked to good health, feng shui is understood to refer to good fortune, and aims to guide people in creating spaces in which positive energy can easily flow. A science, art, spiritual system and philosophy, feng shui is a complex and extensive topic, but for those looking for a quick-fix reboot of the energy flow of their home, we’ve put together a breakdown of the basic tenets.
As well as being the physical entry point, doors are thought of as the point at which energy or qi can enter and leave your home – known in feng shui as “the mouth of qi”. As well as keeping your doorway clean and free from clutter, it’s important to avoid hanging mirrors directly opposite your doorway, as this is understood to reflect any positive energy and stop it from entering your home. It’s also important that your entrance is easy to find, as this is thought to allow opportunities to easily find their way to you.
With feng shui in mind, the kitchen is an important space becasue it represents nourishment. If a kitchen space is left dirty and cluttered, it creates energy which neglects the importance of nourishment. Be careful to keep your kitchen stove clean as it represents abundance, and your kitchen table uncluttered as it is a hub for family.
The science of feng shui encorperates the Taoist five element system, with the elements of earth, metal, water, wood and fire thought to represent and encourage certain qualities. One simple way to encorperate these various elements into different spaces within your home is through colour – painting your space to represent the energy you want to encourage. The earth element is seen to represnt self care, so is particularly important to encorperate in your kitchen space to encourage nourishment. This element can be represnted by heavy square objects, and colour-wise, dark yellow, orange and brown. The metal element (seen to represent beauty, so important in the bathroom) can be encouraged by the use of metalic colours and circular shapes. Water is the element linked to wisdom and connection with others, and is represnted by organic shapes and colours such as dark blue and black. The element linked to growth and vitality is wood, and in feng shui, is represneted visually by blue, teal and green (as well as through the use of plants). Unsurprisingly, the element of fire is linked to passion, and is represnted by colours such as red and bright orange. When painting your space, taking these elements into account may help encourage the energy best suited to the space, and repainting regularly is seen to encourage positive energy.
4. Style your sitting room
Your sitting room or living space is thought of as the centre for connection in your space, so styling it in a way that is welcoming and warm is important for building positive relationships. It’s also important to ensure you have enough chairs at the table for everyone in your home, as well as spare seating for guests – to welcome more connection and community into your life. Make sure chairs and sofas are positioned in a way that will allow for conversation, and avoid positioning chairs with their backs to doors or entry points. In feng shui, connection is represented by the water element, which can be introduced into your space through dark blue colours or water-inspired art. It’s also a good idea to add healthy green plants to your living room, as they are a visual symbol of the wood element (which is thought to represent kindness and compassion) and add life force energy.
Since your bedroom is seen to represent the self, taking good care when curating this space is important for positive feng shui. For the positive flow of qi (energy) within your bedroom, avoid using the underside of your bed for storage, and avoid keeping a bin in your bedroom as this represents unwanted, discarded energy. It’s also important to take care when considering the positioning of your bed – situating it in a commanding position. The commanding position is the position in which the door is visible but not directly opposite – this energetically prepares you to meet challenges and opportunities from a positive position.
Adding the earth element to your bedroom, either through a square rug or dark coloured furniture, is thought to encourage a nourishing energy which will help aid self-care while you sleep. Bright colours and excess artwork should be avoided in the bedroom, particularly above or in direct view of the bed – the space should be peaceful and conducive to rest.
Because of the amount of drains in bathrooms, they can be seen as a source of downward, negative energy – a vacuum for positive energy and abundance. To minimise the impact that your bathroom can have on the qi of your space, keep bathroom doors closed even when the bathroom is not in use.
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